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Tuesday, 2nd October 2012 Please login top-right to be able to star items

By Scott Brown


Are we really freeing the river of information via information "streams" and other tools, or are these examples just spouts of water leaking from the dam?


Remember the idea of the paperless office? The concept was that eventually paper would be eliminated from the workplace – all the information we needed and used in our work would be available electronically. As technology evolved, a lot of information sharing initially moved to email. Yet I have memories of colleagues - not me, of course (*cough*) - printing out scores of emails to read later.

With the increase in mobile devices and ubiquitous connection to the Internet, I think there is indeed a lot less paper being used these days – at least for printing emails. But we’re experiencing a different kind of information logjam, in the form of email overload. James Mullan looks at some of the hidden and intriguing reasons behind this overload, and the slow shift of communication and collaboration to social networks.

Enter more metaphors, and actual tools, for freeing the river of information. Google+ added new functionality aimed toward enterprises: more flexible Hangouts for video conferencing, and improved security and administration features. In the FreePint Report on Workflow Integration, guest editor Cindy Romaine talks about users “drowning in a tsunami of information”, and discusses products like Attensa StreamServer, which help get the right information to the right people via – coincidentally – Streams, as well as mobile access options.

Finally, James also looks at Google Current and other streams of information which incorporate video and other content for browser-based or mobile access.

Are information streams a sea-change in the way we share and consume information?  Or are these examples just spouts of water leaking from the dam?

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Scott Brown is the owner of Social Information Group (, an independent information practice that focuses on the effective use of social networking tools for sharing and finding information. His forthcoming book, "Social Information: Gaining Competitive and Business Information Using Social Media Tools" will be published in late 2012. He has worked with libraries, Fortune 500 companies, startups, government organisations and individuals to help them understand and effectively use these tools for their clients, and to drive increased visibility and return on information resources. He has over 20 years of experience in library and information organisations, in public, academic and corporate settings. Scott is a regular speaker nationally on many areas of information work. He is also a professional coach.

You can follow him on Twitter at @socialinfo.

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Technology: Improving information work with technology
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